A Lovely Body: After the Lean Out Cleanse

FitnessSocial_logo_transparentIt’s been about 6 weeks since I completed FitnessSocial’s Lean Out Cleanse by Dina Juve. If you read the results post, you know I felt fantastic! And that’s the thing – feeling so amazing from the inside-out of course would make me want to continue doing the cleanse. But, cleanses aren’t meant to be a long-term way of eating. Their purpose is to help you reset and maintain a healthy diet. For any of you who have just finished a cleanse or any kind of short-term diet, you’ve probably asked, “What now?”. That’s exactly what I thought after Day 5 of the Lean Out Cleanse. FS_cleanse before + afterBefore (Day 1) + After (Day 5) pictures

Dina recommends immediately transitioning to their Slim Down Plan. New foods, like steel cut oats, will be reintroduced into your diet so you won’t feel like you’re still on a cleanse. The easy-to-follow plan will keep you on your health journey, as well as help you continue to reach your weight-loss goals. It’s a good option for me because I do want to continue to eat healthy and mindfully and keep the bloat away. The cleanse really was proof (see the before & after pics) that diet is as equally important as exercise. I kept up the same fitness schedule while on the cleanse, lost 8″ all over my body and significantly reduced the bloat in my belly. FS_Overhead swings, step 2Another benefit of the cleanse that I just realized the other day is that it helped me get rid of some cravings. On Day 1 of the cleanse, one of the hardest parts was not having a piece of dark chocolate at night. It had become part of my nightly routine, so I was used to it. I was curious to know if I wanted it because it was truly something my body was asking for OR if I was eating it out of “comfort”. My question was answered. Since the cleanse, chocolate doesn’t even sound appetizing and I haven’t had it!

Next week, Dina will tell us about some of her favorite complex carbs and their benefits.

We all have foods we like to indulge in. I’d love to know – what food cravings do you want to kick?





A Lovely Home: Get Bubbly

laguna vista_master bath{Master Bathroom “before” with 1970’s sunken bathtub}

Creating a lovely home and a lovely life isn’t just about the “big picture”. Exceedingly intelligent and talented men and women agree. Steve Jobs said, “Details matter, it’s worth getting it right.” Charles Eames said, “The details are not the details. They make the design.”

After the largest space we’re remodeling was taken care (the kitchen – see the cabinets and countertops), we shifted our focus to plumbing fixtures. They seem like minor details. They actually play an important role in achieving the look and quality you want.

If you’re doing a total remodel like we are, it’s a good idea to make these selections together. For us that meant everything from the kitchen fixtures, like sink, faucets, pot filler and garbage disposal to the bathroom plumbing fixtures. Making the selections all at once helps you stay consistent with the endless finish options – stainless steel, polished chrome, black + more, as well as with the style.

To go with the look of the home, we chose fixtures in a modern, minimalist style with clean, simple lines, mostly in polished chrome. We used a lot of Hansgrohe and Kohler’s Purist collection. master bathroom_demo pic{Master Bath – partial demo}

Besides the standard fixtures for the Master Bathroom (sinks, faucets, shower head, robe hooks), a larger item on our list was a bath tub. I love baths and find them a great, relaxing way to take care of myself, so it was a priority!

heartThese bathrooms and tubs were our inspiration: masterb_home adoreThe symmetrical tub is the focal point, right in front of a beautiful window with a view. masterb_garance doreClean & simple egg-shaped tub. masterb_chomeAnother symmetrical, modern tub with tub filler. masterb_arch digestEven though I’ve had my eyes set on free-standing tubs, I think this organic-looking stone tub is simply amazing & chic. 

When we went looking at PIRCH (I highly recommend you check them out), we got a little lesson on tubs. We learned resin is a preferred material to acrylic. Resin feels sturdier and doesn’t crack as easily. We also learned how important it is to test out tubs, just like you would a new car. Make sure it’s comfortable. It’s a big investment and it’s supposed to be a relaxing place!

We ended up selecting this Aquabrass Caicos free-standing bathtub made out of resin with a glossy white finish. master b_aquabrassheartBudget tip: We saved money with the Aquabrass tub versus another one that looked very similar. Just because a tub is more expensive doesn’t exactly mean it’s better. The same goes with other plumbing fixtures.

Photos by: home adore, garance dore, c home, architectural digest.

I’d love to know – are you a bath tub kind of person and what tub do you like?


A Lovely Body: Yoga

yoga_warrior 3Creating a lovely life and a lovely body is about balance. Yes, to lose weight and get in shape, intense workouts are great, but it’s not good to go hard all the time. While working out with FitnessSocial, I’ve seen amazing results from their TRX & Kettlebell classes, but I truly think that what has kept me committed is having a variety of classes to go to. FitnessSocial_logo_transparentThis week I felt like taking it down a notch, so I swapped a Kettlebell class for Lucy Wells’ Express Flow Yoga. Even though I’m a certified yoga instructor and practice at home, I still love to take classes from other teachers (like Kellee’s Yoga Bliss) and try to do so as much as possible. Sometimes it’s nice and necessary to not have to think about what pose you’ll do next and just follow the lead of the instructor.

The class was great! It was an opportunity to connect with my breath and body. A guided reminder to take long, deep inhales and exhales, flooding my entire body with oxygen. We don’t stop breathing during other fitness classes, but any good yoga instructor will encourage you to focus on your breath.

What’s also great about yoga is that you can take it at your own pace. Don’t feel like going into Downward-Facing Dog? Then, do Child’s Pose. And you get a dose of spirituality. It’s an all-around rejuvenating mind and body workout.

I’d love to know – do you do yoga to help you connect with your breath? Or do you have another go-to exercise that helps you do that?


A Lovely You: Summer Beauty with Blown Away

Youngblood Boudoir lipstick, step 1A lovely life isn’t only about feeling good on the inside. Looking good is just as important. So much so that the two usually go hand in hand.

There’s no better way to look good and feel your best than by emphasizing the great features you have while creating smooth, healthy skin. There are so many fun ways to do that, but of course I love the classic, no-fuss, natural look.

Hair and makeup are not my strong points, so Blown Away was kind enough to help us get a stunning, natural look for Summer. After all, we’re not in the pool or at the beach all day, every day. There are weddings, bachelorette parties, dates and fun dinners with friends.

Blown Away’s products of choice are Youngblood Mineral Cosmetics made of natural, finely ground materials from the earth sans the common irritants found in conventional makeup. Bonus: they provide sun protection. I’m totally for this!

Last week, they showed us how to do a beach wave blowout. Today, makeup artist, Jennifer Nicole, shows us a Summer beauty look on the gorg Lauren Hoekstra. She first applied mineral foundation to even out the skin, then some light eye-enhancing makeup.

How to do the next steps:

heartThe Cheeks: Youngblood, step 2a Youngblood Sundace, step 1Step 1: Swipe Youngblood’s Sundance highlighter above the cheekbones. Youngblood Sundance, step 2Step 2 (below): Place the Sunshine Mineral Radiance bronzer below the cheekbones. Youngblood Sunshine, step 2Step 3: Blend the highlighter and bronzer together. Youngblood SunshineheartThe Lips: Youngblood Pout lipliner, step 1 topStep 1: Line the top lip with Youngblood’s Pout lip liner. Youngblood Pout lipliner, step 1 bottomThen, line the bottom lip. Youngblood Boudoir lipstick, step 1Step 2: Finish the look with the INTIMATTE Mineral Matte Lipstick in Boudoir – a pink nude. YB_FinalThe final Summer-ready look complete with a tousled, beach wave blowout.

Lucky you – beginning June 1st, Blown Away is having a Youngblood BOGO sale – buy 1, get the 2nd 1/2 off! YB products usedThe Youngblood products used to create this look.

Photos by Photography by MJD for A Lovely Life x Blown Away.


A Lovely Home: Chairs

eames_black leather with palisander finishJenni Kayne’s bedroom via Architectural Digest. They have the Eames chair in the original design – Black leather with Palisander finish.

Furnishing a new space in a way you love and as a reflection of you is part of creating a lovely life. For our new home, we need a lot of new furniture. Most of what we had in our previous home doesn’t go with its 70’s architectural vibe. The Master Bedroom, Living Room and Den all need club chairs or side chairs.

I’ve long had my eyes on the Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman designed by the husband-and-wife duo, Charles and Ray Eames. Everything about it is so simplistically chic and classic. And, it’s also really comfortable. A win in our book! As I’ve learned from the plethora of recliners in my husband’s house before I moved in, men are all about comfort. Men, including my husband, just might be convinced by the sport reference – the Eames’ desire for the chair was for it to have, in their own words, “the warm, receptive look of a well-used first baseman’s mitt.” I’m thinking the Living Room would be the perfect place for it.

Here are a few iterations of the iconic chair:  Eames_black leather with walnut finishBlack leather with walnut finish via Judith Mackineames_brown leatherThe most recliner-like in brown leathereames_ivory leather, walnut finish- design within reachSo fresh + clean in ivory vicenza leather with walnut finish via DWR.eames_ivoryAnother in ivory with walnut finish via DWR.

The mission is to find a chair with a good balance of comfort and style with clean, modern and organic elements. Here are a few additional ones, though unlike the Eames one, that fit the bill for other spaces: club chair_west elmWest Elm Lucas wire base chair. Club Chair- Room & Board Anson ChairRoom & Board Anson chair.

If you want more convincing about the Eames chair, read My Domaine’s 12 reasons why they still want one.

Hope you enjoy! Which chair would you choose – the black or ivory leather?

Like our designer said, if you’re a purist, go with the Black leather with Palisander finish, but more importantly, go with what you like!